Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra Closes the 2022 Season with “A Symphonic Tribute to Peace”

The Mesquite Weekly proudly features the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra and presents a musical tribute and our hats off to the folks who bring big city symphony performances to our small corner of southeastern Nevada and the Virgin River Valley. The 2022 season closed with “A Symphonic Tribute to Peace” on April 23, 2022, at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

 

Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducted the orchestra and five pieces from the “Les Misérables” by Claude Michel Schoenberg were highlighted in the performance.

If you were not able to see and hear the symphony on April 23, 2022, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure. This is the final concert for the 2022 season.

The 2023 SNSO season will open in November 2022, and we hope to see all of you again this fall.

The SNSO finale featured an encore performance of “Do You Hear the People Sing” from the popular musical “Les Misérables”. The concert snippet is presented here for your viewing pleasure:

Beginning Spring with the VVTG presentation of the “Wedding Bell Blues”

The month of March is a time when life begins anew, and the Virgin Valley is awash with the colors of flowery blooms and the sounds of love are in the air. This is the story of such an event, and it is presented here as an original Musical Melodrama by the Virgin Valley Theatre Group. “Wedding Bell Blues’ or “How the Virgin Valley go its groove on”. It is presented here in its entirety for those of you who were not able to see it live during its two-week run-in March at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

The musical is also a look back to an era that many of us can barely remember. The producer/writers have recreated that time and jolted our memories with the music and the dress and the mannerism of the sixties in a most effective way. The play acting is unique and genuine. The costumes although somewhat over the top, are colorful and quite amusing. The music is true to form. The songsters are very talented and bring back a few of the oldies that will make this ride through memory lane … memorable. The half time entertainment is a joy to watch.

Here a few out-takes and they feature the performances of the Choir “Do You Believe in Magic” performed by Jerrie Clark, Mitzi Bender and Susan Kjellson, “You’ve Got the Magic Touch” performed by Maria Palmer and “I Got You Babe” performed by John Sadler and Kathleen Bartley and a special presentation of the Lifelong Dancers doing the Loco-Motion.

The Producer/Writers Nancy Arnold and Susan Kjellson told us their story and how they helped the Virgin Valley “get it groove on”. Nancy was also the Director for the play. You can hear them speak of the passion and the joy of putting this wonderful experience together just for our listing and viewing pleasure. More importantly, they had fun doing it.

Please join me in giving our thanks to the actors, singers musicians and the many behind-the-scenes volunteers who put on this show for our enjoyment and entertainment.

Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra Opens 2022 Season with “A Symphonic Holiday”

The Mesquite Weekly proudly features the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra and presents a musical tribute and our hats off to the folks who bring big city symphony performances to our small corner of southeastern Nevada and the Virgin River Valley. The 2022 season opened with “A Symphonic Holiday” symphony on February 19, 2022, at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

 

 

Concert Master Walter White was featured and provided a violin solo playing “Czardas” by Vittorio Monti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Selmer Spitzer conducted the orchestra and six pieces from the “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin were highlighted in the performance.

 

If you were not able to see and hear the symphony on February 19, 2022, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure.

 

 

 

 

Watch this space for information on the Symphony’s next performance on April 23, 2022.

The Symphony Is Back

The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra is back.  It is the title of the Symphony’s first performance since March 2020 and a dazzling performance was turned in by the conductor Dr. Selmer Spitzer and the many talented orchestra performers.

Dr. Selmer Spitzer and his team of the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra (SNSO) have been providing a world class symphony for more than eight years. Much of the talent that is recruited by Dr. Spitzer is from the Mesquite, Moapa and Virgin River Valley. The November 13, 2021 “The Symphony is Back” provided a fantastic musical performance to a sold-out crowd at the Mesquite Community Theatre.

The performance was dedicated to Dr. Ann Rice. Dr. Rice has championed the cause of bringing world class entertainment to our local community and supported the symphony since its founding some eight years ago by serving on the SNSO board of directors and with generous financial contributions.

 

 

If you were not able to see and hear our symphony on November 13, 2021, here is a video of the entire performance for your viewing and listening pleasure.

The Southern Utah University Orchestra and Choir Perform Mendelssohn’s Oratorio “ELIJAH”

The Mesquite Weekly is proud to present the March 6, 2020 Southern Utah University Orchestra and Choir concert performance of Mendelssohn’s Oratorio Elijah

The video presentation of Elijah and Dr. Ipson’s introduction and narrative lecture was produced by the university television studio SUTV-9.   We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude and applaud SUU’s  effort to reach out and give us joy, hope and inspiration by sharing this musical masterpiece with everyone.

We thank you for the Music!


A short video introduction to Elijah and Mendelssohn and a brief history is hereby provided by music historian Dr. Douglas Ipson.

Dr. Ipson received a Ph.D. in music history at the University of Chicago after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Brigham Young University. A specialist in nineteenth-century Italian opera—especially its political aspects—he has been published in the Cambridge Opera Journal and is a contributor to the forthcoming Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia (expected 2013). Currently he is preparing the critical edition of the opera La battaglia di Legnano for The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, published by the University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi. His other areas of scholarly interest include the role of music in the European revolutions of 1848–49, Shakespeare and opera, the sixteenth-century Italian madrigal, and the intersection of seventeenth-century Venetian opera and painting. He is also an active choral composer and arranger whose works have been published by Hinshaw Music and have been performed by choirs across the country, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the BYU Singers.


The Oratorio Elijah was composed by Felix Mendelssohn and premiered in 1846  in Birmingham England.  A brief history of Mendelssohn and his Oratorio Elijah are also provided here.

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn
Composer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. His best-known works include his overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. The melody for the Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is also his. Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions.
Abraham Mendelssohn renounced the Jewish religion prior to Felix’s birth; he and his wife decided not to have Felix circumcised, in contravention of the Jewish tradition. Felix and his siblings were first brought up without religious education, and were baptized by a Reformed Church minister in 1816, at which time Felix was given the additional names Jakob Ludwig. Abraham and his wife Lea were baptized in 1822, and formally adopted the surname Mendelssohn Bartholdy (which they had used since 1812) for themselves and for their children. The name Bartholdy was added at the suggestion of Lea’s brother, Jakob Salomon Bartholdy, who had inherited a property of this name in Luisenstadt and adopted it as his own surname. In an 1829 letter to Felix, Abraham explained that adopting the Bartholdy name was meant to demonstrate a decisive break with the traditions of his father Moses: “There can no more be a Christian Mendelssohn than there can be a Jewish Confucius”. (Letter to Felix of 8 July 1829).  On embarking on his musical career, Felix did not entirely drop the name Mendelssohn as Abraham had requested, but in deference to his father signed his letters and had his visiting cards printed using the form ‘Mendelssohn Bartholdy’. In 1829, his sister Fanny wrote to him of “Bartholdy […] this name that we all dislike”

Mendelssohn first visited Britain in 1829, where Moscheles, who had already settled in London, introduced him to influential musical circles. On Mendelssohn’s eighth British visit in the summer of 1844, he conducted five of the Philharmonic concerts in London, and wrote: “[N]ever before was anything like this season – we never went to bed before half-past one, every hour of every day was filled with engagements three weeks beforehand, and I got through more music in two months than in all the rest of the year.” On subsequent visits Mendelssohn met Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, himself a composer, who both greatly admired his music.

Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah premiered on 26 August 1846. It was composed to a German text translated into English by William Bartholomew, who authored and translated many of Mendelssohn’s works during his time in England. Mendelssohn became close to the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, whom he met in October 1844. Papers confirming their relationship had not been made public. In 2013, George Biddlecombe confirmed in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association that “The Committee of the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation possesses material indicating that Mendelssohn wrote passionate love letters to Jenny Lind entreating her to join him in an adulterous relationship and threatening suicide as a means of exerting pressure upon her, and that these letters were destroyed on being discovered after her death.”

He is said to have tailored the aria “Hear Ye Israel”, in his oratorio Elijah, to Lind’s voice, although she did not sing the part until after his death, at a concert in December 1848. Upon Mendelssohn’s death, Lind wrote: “[He was] the only person who brought fulfillment to my spirit, and almost as soon as I found him I lost him again.” In 1849, she established the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation, which makes an award to a young resident British composer every two years in Mendelssohn’s memory. In 1869, Lind erected a plaque in Mendelssohn’s memory at his birthplace in Hamburg.


Dr. Krystal McCoy conducted the SUU Orchestra as well as the SUU Concert Choir, Opus and Luminosa Choirs.   Dr. McCoy is the assistant professor of choral education at Southern Utah University (SUU) where she teaches choral literature, methods, advanced conducting, applied voice and conducts the Women’s Choir. In addition, she advises the ACDA student chapter at SUU.

Dr. McCoy began her teaching career in high school choral music where she taught in the New Jersey Public School System for five years. Under her direction, the choral ensembles won superior awards at competitions, frequently performed in Carnegie Hall, and traveled to Sydney, Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House. Her prior collegiate appointments include the College of Southern Maryland and University of Delaware. Most recently, Dr. McCoy focused on creating community choral programs in Southern Maryland for all ages. She founded and was the Artistic Director of Choral Activities for St. Maries Choral Arts, a community choral organization that provides singing opportunities for second graders through adults, encompassing five ensembles. She was co-founder of the Chesapeake Children’s Chorus and consulted with Encore Creativity for Older Adults, the largest choral organization in the nation for older adults.

Dr. McCoy adjudicates at choral festivals and clinics in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. She presents at conferences and choral reading sessions and conducts honor choirs at various levels.  Her education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Bucknell University, a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a Doctorate of Musical Art in Music Education from Boston University. She studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Andrew Megill, James Jordan and William Payn. She performs frequently as a soprano soloist in choral works such as Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Handel’s Messiah. She was the soprano in residence for the Bach Cantata Ensemble of Southern Maryland. Her research interests include community engagement, adult music education, and preservice music education.


Dr. Xun Sun provided the preparatory activities for the Concert Orchestra and also showcased his talents in the role of a concert violinist.
Appointed to his current academic position in 2001, Dr. Xun Sun is serving as Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University. As a tenured faculty member, his teaching duties include that of conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Xun Sun has been named The 30 Professions of the Year of 2015 by Musical America. He also received award of 2015 Educator of the Year Award from American String Teachers Association Utah Chapter, and 2014 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence by Southern Utah University.
Professor Xun Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. His most recent performance was conducting Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony and Hubei Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD of title on America Journey , music by American composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. Mr. Sun also conducted Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, the opera of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In 2011 he conducted the world premiere of the Modern Dance Drama Helen’s Dream combined production of SUU and Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre of China. As the founder and director, Professor Sun continues to teach the annual Hunan Conductor’s Workshop in Hunan, China.
Mr. Xun Sun has also served as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003. Dr. Sun has made many appearances over the years in concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU world premiered the symphonic suite Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In June 2008, the League of American Orchestras presented OSU with an Award of Excellence in the Annual Gold Book Online competition and an Audrey Baird Audience Development Award, making OSU the only orchestra to receive these awards from the League of American Orchestras that year.
Born in the city of Taiyuan, China, Mr. Xun Sun manifested distinctive musical talent at an early age. He began his formal music training and violin studies at Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China at age 11 through the government’s scholarship program for exceptional music students. This substantial music training led him to successful graduate studies in United States. Under the Evelyn Ryan Nelson Concertmaster Fellowship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music, and he received Master’s degrees in Instrumental Conducting and Violin Performance. In 2013 He earned Doctor Degree in Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York.

 

 

Where Fairy Tales Come True

It was last year that we first stumbled upon the Orchestra of Southern Utah (OSU) and we found that fairy tales do come true. Well at least in the musical sense. We are proud to present the first OSU performance of the 2019-2020 season series “Origins” entitled “Storytime”.

Please sit back and view and/or listen to highlights from “Alice in Wonderland”, the “Mother Goose Suite”, “The Greatest Showman” and the theme from “To Kill A Mockingbird”.

 

 

 

We also caught up with the Carylee Zwang the conductor of the OSU “Storytime” performance late last year and she embellished on her love of music and the privilege of presenting her art as a conductor, teacher and motivator.

Please view the following interview with Carylee Zwang.

Carylee Zwang has performed with the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003 where she served as the Percussion Section Leader for many years, she now serves as Assistant Conductor. With the Orchestra she traveled to Wuhan China to perform with the Hubei Symphony Orchestra (not recently). She has been a featured player in chamber concerts and recitals. Carylee has performed both live and recorded percussion for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Tuacahn, Parowan Community Theatre, Cedar Valley Community Theater and Playmakers. She is a frequent music director for pit orchestras throughout the Southern Utah Region including Little Shop of Horrors, Once Upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, Oliver and The Wedding Singer.
Carylee earned her Bachelor of Science at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Music Education with a Percussion Emphasis. She was awarded SUU’s Outstanding Senior in Music for 2005. Carylee is currently an adjunct professor at SUU.

Southern Utah University Alumni Band Concert Provides More Than Just Entertainment.

The month of January features numerous bowl games and marching bands from almost every university in the country. One may easily, albeit incorrectly, surmise that extra circulatory activities involving football and the dance (cheerleading) and music (marching bands) supporting the game related revelries are the end all university education. Well, we know there is another side to university life, and it involves a more disciplined approach to the pursuit of happiness. You may ask how does the “pursuit of happiness” enter the equation of academic work and emotional pleasure.

One can conclude with some certainty that music evokes a sense of well-being, excitement, contentment and a variety of numerous other pleasurable emotions and responses. It matters little if one is the music giver or taker. Music appeals to the intellect and to our senses of reason because of its relation to numbers.

The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras discovered the importance of numbers in music, and the connection which he established between music and arithmetic survives to this day in the mathematical terms “harmonic mean” and “harmonic expression”.*

Let me now take you to Cedar City Utah and Southern Utah University (SUU) for an example of mathematics as enlightenment, inspiration and stimulation of both the intellect and the senses that the gift of music gives to all that participate in its expression and experience. The Mesquite Weekly is proud to present a performance of the Southern Utah University’s Alumni Band. The Band Concert features the SUU Wind Symphony and former members of the SUU Band.

Please watch or listen and enjoy this presentation.

We stopped by the office of Dr. Adam Lambert and had a brief conversation with him about the Alumni band and its formation; its traditions; and its role in maintaining a strong relation with the community and its former students.

Please watch this short interview.

Adam Lambert – Associate Professor of Music Director of Bands

Adam Lambert, Director of Bands and Brass Studies as SUU, directs the Wind Symphony, Athletic Bands and Brass Ensemble, and teaches conducting and private trumpet and French horn at Southern Utah University. Adam is also the conductor of the American Fork Symphony and the Assistant Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Adam studied conducting from Eugene Corporon (UNT) James Jordan (Westminster Choir College) , Ron Staheli and David Blacking (BYU). Adam is active as a conductor and clinician for orchestras, concert bands, and jazz bands throughout the region.

As a trumpet soloist, Adam has given performances at many colleges and universities throughout the Midwest, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wayne State College, the University of Wyoming, Northwest College, and Colorado State University. He holds degrees in music education from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas.
He was awarded a Teaching Fellowship at UNT from 2002 to 2005. Adam performed and recorded with the University of North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon and appears on several recordings featured by the UNT Wind Symphony on the series Teaching Music Through Performance. He has performed as a professional jazz musician at many major jazz festivals, including the Snow Bird Jazz Festival, the Park City Jazz Festival, and the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival. Adam is a Bach trumpet artist and clinician for the Conn-Selmer Corporation. He was the director of bands at Provo High School in Provo, Utah, from 1997 to 2002.

* from the chapter “The Rise of Greek Civilization” – Bertrand Russell

Cedar City and the Orchestra of Southern Utah Dazzles with a Spectacular Performance of Handel’s Messiah

The Shakespeare festival season ended in October, and snow and colder temperatures arrived in Cedar City. However, the Holiday season’s warmth and traditional charm are on display in Cedar City and cut through the winter season’s cold and snow. The performing arts and music seem to be woven in the fabric of this community and their expression extends to the holiday season as well as throughout the entire year.

During December, we attended Christmas favorites such as the Southern University of Utah annual Christmas concert entitled “Somewhere in my Memory”, an SUU sponsored piano recital called “Piano Monster Concert” and a perennial Christmas favorite “Handel’s Messiah” performed by the Orchestra of Southern Utah. The beautiful city Christmas lights and the many musical performances dazzled the community and visitor alike at the Cedar City Heritage Center.


Heritage and History


I had the privilege of attending a rehearsal session of Handel’s Messiah and meeting the Orchestra of Southern Utah Administrator, Patron and Historian, Sara Penny. We spoke with Sara and talked at length about the Orchestra of Southern Utah origins and historical events. Sara provided an overview of those who contributed to the unique character of Cedar City’s musical excellence and community participation. From Fiddlers Canyon, to the Heritage Center concert hall; from the beginnings of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and to the many accomplishments, accolades and awards.

Earlier that day I visited the Main Street park and came upon a statue of one of Cedar City’s most prominent citizens, Helen Foster Snow. Ties to the Orchestra of Southern Utah as Sara Penny explained, are established and play out in relationships that are nurtured and transcend the boundaries of both time and place. A unique interplay of Cedar City’s communities and families with their local government and businesses and a strong relationship with the Southern Utah University College of the Performing Arts provides an unparalleled measure of musical success and excellence.

Please join me for a visit with Sara Penny. You may note some of the rehearsal music playing in the background, so listen and watch this interview!

 

 

 

 


The Players


The most notable of the players, is of course, from a time long ago.

George Frideric Handel
(German: Georg Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23 February 1685 — 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727.[1] By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class with Alexander’s Feast (1736) which was well received. Handel then made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel’s oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity.[2] Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel’s opera seria also revived. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization by a composer not known for his love affairs.

The more current players and performers are:

Dr. Xun Sun – Conductor
Dr. Xun Sun has served as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003. Dr. Sun has made many appearances over the years in concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU world premiered the symphonic suite Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In June 2008, the League of American Orchestras presented OSU with an Award of Excellence in the Annual Gold Book Online competition and an Audrey Baird Audience Development Award, making OSU the only orchestra to receive these awards from the League of American Orchestras that year.
Dr. Xun Sun is also the Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University. As a tenured faculty member, his teaching duties include that of conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Xun Sun has been named The 30 Professions of the Year of 2015 by Musical America. He also received award of 2015 Educator of the Year Award from American String Teachers Association Utah Chapter, and 2014 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence by Southern Utah University.

Professor Xun Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. His most recent performance was conducting Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony and Hubei Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD of title on America Journey , music by American composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. Mr. Sun also conducted Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, the opera of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In 2011 he conducted the world premiere of the Modern Dance Drama Helen’s Dream combined production of SUU and Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre of China. As the founder and director, Professor Sun continues to teach the annual Hunan Conductor’s Workshop in Hunan, China.

Jackie Riddle-Jackson – Chorale Director.                 A native of Cedar City, Utah, Jackie was appointed Director of Orchestra of Southern Utah Chorale in 2015. In addition to her community conducting responsibilities she teaches applied voice, music for the elementary teacher and class voice at Southern Utah University.
Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing.

 

                          Gary Player – Trumpet                                           Gary Player a Southern Utah University Alumni is featured in this 79th. performance of Messiah and is being honored for his dedication to this and many other Orchestra of Southern Utah and Southern Utah University concert performances.

 

       Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel – Harpsicord           Dr. Bohnenstengel brings his keyboard skills to Handel’s Messiah and a harpsicord performance which embodies the instruments role in the classical baroque musical sound of the 17th and 18th century.

      Alex Byers – Assistant Chorale Director                            And the Byers Family – Soloists (Alex, Tahlia, Jessie) and Chorale (Lee, Luene)
The Byers family brings their vocal talents to Messiah and their dedication to this musical art form by inspiring, teaching and developing ongoing musical involvement of the families and communities of Cedar City and its surrounds. The traditions of musical performance and dedication to the musical art form is woven into the fabric of the community and is expressed by its families.

And the More Than One Hundred Singers and Players

The dedication of the more than one hundred singers and players who come together to dazzle audiences around Christmas time with a spectacular performance of Haendel’s Messiah is indeed a remarkable and unique phenomenon.

Almost at curtain time we had the privilege of talking to just a few of the folks that helped in making this 79th Orchestra of Southern Utah performance of Handel’s Messiah a dazzling and beautifully amazing event. Please join me and Rebekah Hughes OSU Manager, Dr. Xun Sun OSU Musical Director and Harold Shirley OSU President for brief comments and an introduction by Harold Shirley of this 79th performance of Handel’s Messiah.


The Oratorio – Handel’s Messiah


And now, please kick back, relax and enjoy the full presentation of “Handel’s Messiah” from the Cedar City, Utah Heritage Center 2019 Performance. Please note, Handel’s Messiah is a TWO HOUR performance and is presented here in its entirety. Please watch all of it.

Southern Utah University Shines with a “True Light: Accessing Stillness” Choral Performance

Less than one hundred miles north of Mesquite is what at first appears to be a sleepy small town, but it is the home of the Shakespearean festivals and Southern Utah University (SUU). A late September visit to Cedar City and a walk around the University campus yielded more than the usual Shakespearean Festival theatre tickets. The University and Cedar City provide a wealth of entertainment not just during the Shakespearean festival season but all year long. The Symphony Orchestra of Southern Utah as well as the University put on some amazing, dazzling and top notch entertainment events. I would rate the SUU School of music among the best in the country.

As the Shakespearean Festival 2019 season came to a close on October 4, SUU sponsored its annual choral event for 2019 titled “True Light: Acessing Stillness”. It was a privilege to hear and see this beautiful presentation and a memorable performance of the SUU Concert Choir, the Luminosa Choir, the Opus Choir and the special visiting high school choir guests.

I will ask that you watch the following presentation in its entirety in order to appreciate the dedication to excellence, the long hours of practice, and the talent brought to this masterful vocal expression of music. You will also be pleased to note that there is passion for this performance art being displayed by all that participated in this choral presentation. Please watch:

We thank you and your students for the music and all the joy it brings.

Dr. Krystal Rickard McCoy is assistant professor of choral education at Southern Utah University (SUU) where she teaches choral literature, methods, advanced conducting, applied voice and conducts the Luminosa (Women’s Choir). In addition, she advises the ACDA student chapter at SUU.

Dr. McCoy began her teaching career in high school choral music where she taught in the New Jersey Public School System for five years. Under her direction, the choral ensembles won superior awards at competitions, frequently performed in Carnegie Hall, and traveled to Sydney, Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House. Her prior collegiate appointments include the College of Southern Maryland and University of Delaware. Most recently, Dr. McCoy focused on creating community choral programs in Southern Maryland for all ages. She founded and was the Artistic Director of Choral Activities for St. Maries Choral Arts, a community choral organization that provides singing opportunities for second graders through adults, encompassing five ensembles. She was co-founder of the Chesapeake Children’s Chorus and consulted with Encore Creativity for Older Adults, the largest choral organization in the nation for older adults.

Dr. McCoy adjudicates at choral festivals and clinics in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. She presents at conferences and choral reading sessions and conducts honor choirs at various levels.  Her education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Bucknell University, a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a Doctorate of Musical Art in Music Education from Boston University. She studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Andrew Megill, James Jordan and William Payn. She performs frequently as a soprano soloist in choral works such as Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Handel’s Messiah. She was the soprano in residence for the Bach Cantata Ensemble of Southern Maryland. Her research interests include community engagement, adult music education, and preservice music education.

The University sponsores and participates in numerous events at the Heritage Center and at the Shakespearean theatres in Cedar City.  The Orchestra of Southern Utah also performs their annual premiere event of Handel’s Messiah and it was free in 2019.

Here is a schedule of the 2019-2020 season of SUU upcoming events: